The Perfect Business Lunch: 8 Tips for Small Businesses
Relationship building in business is important because “people do business with people they like,” says Rhonda Abrams in her article, Strategies: How to Have a Business Lunch, published on USA Today.com.
You Should Sometimes Mix Business with Pleasure
You need to build the rapport and trust that leads to a successful working relationships. The business lunch is the perfect setting to build those business relationships in a relaxed and casual setting, Abrams says.
“The single most important thing you can do at a business meal is to listen. You want to hear what the other person cares about, what their interests are, what makes him or her tick,” she continues.
8 Simple Tips for a Fruitful Business Lunch
- Choose a pleasant place where you can be comfortable and talk. Having lunch is preferable to going out for drinks or coffee because it allows more time for conversation.
- Don’t rush—avoid fast food dining, and look for a relaxed atmosphere. You want to get to know your guest and not give the impression you are simply rushing through a business appointment.
- Don’t order messy food such as, pasta, and be careful of sandwiches that fall apart and meals that are awkward to eat. You don’t want pasta sauce on your tie, Abrams says.
- Be sure to turn off your cell phone and don’t check texts. Your guest will be insulted if you become distracted and glance at your phone. Be attentive, and do not insult your guest by appearing restless or distracted.
- Always pay for lunch, even if your guest offers to expense the meal to their company. Abrams mentions occasional exceptions to your footing the bill:
Some companies and most government agencies have rules against employees being treated for meals, and some customers who work for large corporations may insist on picking up a check since they know you have a small business.
- If you must attend to paperwork, wait until your meal is finished. It’s okay to make a few notes when you talk business after lunch, but try not to do a lot of writing at the table.
- Remember to visit the restroom before your meal, and watch your liquid intake so you are not frequently getting up from the table.
- Most importantly, remember to listen to your guest. You are sharing your valuable time with this person in order to learn about his or her interests, goals, and concerns—show you are interested in what he or she has to say. If there is an initial awkward silence, Abrams suggests a great thing to ask is, “Where did you grow up?”
To read the original article in its entirety, please visit USA Today.